June 2013 marks the end of the third year for the position of Sustainability & Service Learning Coordinator. Looking back, this has been a year of much work and evidence of great success, but there remains much to be done. Overall, the year was action-packed with sustainable and service learning projects, educational experiences and growth.
On the positive side, 2012-13 has a number of key points to celebrate:
- The recognition of our sustainability and "green" efforts by the Eco-Schools program, who have identified us as the first "Green Flag" school in Malaysia. The award will be presented in August, 2013, nearly one year ahead of our originally targeted goal!
- The CIS/WASC note that sustainability education is well infused into the curriculum
- The introduction of color-coded destinations for the HS GAP program
- The introduction of the Plus (+) program for Malaysia Week sites
- The creation of new after-school programs (for next year) including an ES Recycling Club and a MS Roots & Shoots club
- Lots and lots of visits to classrooms to discuss sustainability and promote service-related learning
- The construction of the bio-digester at Melawati
- Solid moves forward in the Technology department to reduce server energy use
- Reduction of Ampang water use by over 40% year on year through infrastructure upgrades
- Introduction of our newly developed (and still in draft form) "sustainable procurement guidelines"
- Introduction of "Best Practices for School flights" to be utilized in the upcoming year
- The goal of "Platinum" standard for our new school campus and extensive conversations with architects, engineers, etc. about the best manner by which to achieve a high level of efficiency with maximum natural spaces
- The generation of a blueprint for service learning structure
- Introduction of new "Non-Recyclable" bins to complete the already existing bin sets, augmenting recycling efforts
- Reduction of carbon from air travel by over 20% from the previous year
On the continued "to do" list are issues related to:
- Systematic use of administrative structures (Leadership Councils) and student-based organizations (e.g. Green Council) to support each other in defining and moving forward in terms of ESD in the out of the classroom.
- The continued need to infuse ESD into the curricular documentation of the MS and HS offerings
- Systemic re-organization of our waste system to minimize landfill waste and maximize recycling, composting and appropriate disposal of chemical and toxic waste
- Infusing service learning across the school in a pre-defined systematic manner
- Continue efforts to reduce energy, water and air miles
- Continue assisting in the design and building of a new sustainable campus
The thing with sustainability is that the job is never quite done. As soon as we work something out, there is always something else to focus on. And so I suspect it will continue to be. We move onward. We move forward.
Enjoy the summer break and I look forward to a rewarding 2013-14!